Twitter's engineering team has just announced a number of back-end changes, with the goal of improving the experience for end users. According to Twitter, the new changes it's implementing allowed the company to drop page load times to 20 percent of what they were previously — a pretty significant improvement. One of the biggest catalysts in this improvement is the removal of "hashbang" (#!) permalink URLs. As Twitter notes, the old URL structure was pretty complicated: "the browser needs to download an HTML page, download and execute some JavaScript, recognize the hashbang path (which is only visible to the browser), then fetch and render the content for that URL." Twitter's new structure removes many of these steps, and should help page loads meet the lofty reduction the company is claiming.

Twitter also removed JavaScript execution out of the rendering path, and also maximized the JavaScript load with the goal of "reducing time to first tweet." All of these changes are currently rolling out, and unlike the sometimes-controversial redesigns that Twitter has undergone over the years, there's no doubt users will appreciated a faster-loading Twitter site.